As part of the College’s robust phased return to School, senior school pupils took part in the “Be Social, Be Active, Be Positive” programme at Templars’ Park to allow them to mix and interact in a safe environment following months of being apart. Bob Tayler, Head of Outdoor Education reflects on the successes of the week. 

The two metre distancing rule set a real blocker for Senior pupils making it impossible for them to socialise restriction free whilst at Schoolhill. The vast space at Templars’ Park based just on the outskirts of Aberdeen allowed pupils to use the open space to meet and socialise with peers freely. 

The two meter distancing rule in place before Easter meant that our traditional school hill site would struggle to accommodate all the pupils from RGC. The innovative solution to this problem was to create a temporary outdoor campus, Templars' Park, which provided an ideal space with large open fields, small areas of woodland broken up by small hills. 

We utilised the big open field, woods, hills, and of course lots of mud at Templars’ Park to allow the pupils to readjust to school life and structure in a social way that inspired creativity and resilience.

The need that young people have to be social has been hindered and although many of them were keen to see their friends again the reality of socialising in a covid world is daunting and challenging. 

The outdoors has been proven to enhance health and wellbeing, as well as providing a safe space for groups to start to mix and socialise (within the restrictions at the time). It was important for us to ensure that pupils felt happy and safe about their return to school. 

Incorporating studies of the five levels of “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, pupils learned about self-actualisation and how to fulfil certain needs before moving to the next level of fulfilment. We also looked at Dr. Dan Siegel’s “Theory of Brain Zones” and resilience methods. It is important for us to recognise how we feel and how we react, balancing the different zones of the brain to take us forward.

Throughout the day, our instructors helped pupils move towards their chosen goal for the day. Some pupils had physical goals, some artistic whilst others investigative by exploring the area and some created shelters for the group. 

Telling stories is a well known aid for processing and pupils were encouraged to tell their own stories and own experiences around the campfire them around the campfire and share their own experiences. 

From speaking to pupils the thing they missed most through the home learning transition was the lack of interaction with their friends and our programme at Templars’ Park allowed us to enable pupils to meet, reconnect and collaborate with their peers.

Mr Taylor updates on Senior School's trip to Templars' Park